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DVD & Blu-ray Reviews
Yentl Blu-ray Review
Dec 24 2014 02:56 PM
If the auteur theory hadn’t already been in existence, it would have had to be created for Barbra Streisand’s Yentl. The 1983 introspective musical version o... Read More
The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie Blu-ray Review
Dec 23 2014 02:46 PM
Cinematic school teachers are almost always charismatic individuals who inspire their charges either through their undeniable skills or through their overwhe... Read More
Star Trek: The Next Generation: Season Seven
Dec 23 2014 01:59 PM
The final season of The Next Generation is solid Trek, though clearly isn’t the height of glory for the series, as the creative and imaginative quality showe... Read More
Inherit the Wind Blu-ray Review
Dec 22 2014 12:39 PM
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Call of the Wild Blu-ray ReviewBlu-ray Fox
Dec 01 2013 05:03 PM | Matt Hough in DVD & Blu-ray Reviews
- Studio: Fox
- Distributed By: N/A
- Video Resolution: 1080P/AVC
- Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
- Audio: English 1.0 DTS-HDMA (Mono)
- Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish, French
- Rating: Not Rated
- Run Time: 1 Hr. 32 Min.
- Package Includes: Blu-ray
- Case Type: keep case
- Disc Type: BD25 (single layer)
- Region: A
- Release Date: 12/03/2013
- MSRP: $24.99
The Production Rating: 4.5/5After losing his money in a high stakes poker game, Jack Thornton (Clark Gable) happens on old pal “Shorty” Hoolihan (Jack Oakie) who has seen a map of a fabulous gold mine which he’ll need help locating. Jack and Buck aren’t alone on the trail: an avaricious prospector named Smith (Reginald Owen) looks like trouble, and once on the trail, Jack and Shorty meet up with Claire Blake (Loretta Young) whose husband went wandering off in search of food and has been missing for two days. It happens that Mrs. Blake knows the exact location of the mine, so the boys take her along, aided as they are by the leader of their dog pack, an enormous St. Bernard/Scottish Shepherd mixed breed with the strength of ten regular dogs. And the group will need all that strength and some good luck, too, as the wilds of Alaska can easily take its toll on their resources and temperaments.
In turning the story from an adventure tale focusing on Buck to a mix of adventure and romance with the focus on the burgeoning love between Jack and Claire, the script by Gene Fowler and Leonard Praskins walks a careful but successful line giving each side of the story equal attention, and William Wellman has directed with his customary expertise a narrative which emphasizes male exploits (though a great ladies man in real life, his best films seemed to be male-dominated). The major highlights from the book for Buck – his 100 yard pull of a thousand pound load and the “call of the wild” for a female wolf – are also both highlights of the film, and one is also surprised that the writers have not sought a conventional happy ending for the lovesick Jack. (Of course, in the book, he meets an entirely different fate.) By adding Jack Oakie’s Shorty to the story, the film has comedy, action, and romance, a pretty unbeatable combination.
Clark Gable was among the biggest male stars in Hollywood when MGM loaned him to 20th Century Pictures to make this movie, and his star quality blazes forth in every frame. Jack Oakie, the supreme scene stealer deluxe, certainly earns his title in the movie making his rather stock character loads of fun. Loretta Young, twenty-two during the film’s production, is gorgeous at all times in the standards of the era where leading ladies didn’t look disheveled even in the middle of the Alaskan wilderness. Reginald Owen hides his treachery nicely in the early sections of the movie, and Frank Conroy has a decent moment or two as Claire’s husband John. Look closely and you’ll see future Charlie Chan Sidney Toler as a dog salesman in early scenes in the movie.
Video Rating: 4.5/5 3D Rating: NA
The film’s 1.33:1 aspect ratio is delivered faithfully in a 1080p transfer using the AVC codec. The scrumptious picture belies its almost eighty years of age: sharpness is quite wonderful (except in some of Miss Young’s glamour close-ups and some soft stock footage), and the grayscale features really crisp and clean whites. If the black levels aren’t the deepest possible, they’re still more than acceptable. There are no age-related markings at all in this very impressive black and white transfer. The film has been divided into 20 chapters.
Audio Rating: 4/5The DTS-HD Master Audio 1.0 sound mix is a very good representation of the sound quality of its era. The dialogue, sound effects, and music by Alfred Newman are blended skillfully to avoid any intrusions of one on the others. If there is a slight bit of low level hiss on quieter occasions, it’s not ever a problem.
Special Features: 2/5Audio Commentary: film historian and biographer Darwin Porter provides an interesting audio commentary stressing his knowledge of the actors and crew with occasional bits of production information thrown in.
Theatrical Trailer (1:45, SD)
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